Being with the Divine: Being Without—Less is More
Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.
– Leonardo da Vinci
In the Christian scriptures, when Jesus sent out his disciples to preach, he instructed them: Take nothing for the journey except a staff--no bread, no bag, no money in your belts. Wear sandals but not an extra tunic. (Mark 6:8-9)
Simplicity. The less we have to clutter our lives, the more we seem to be alert to and aware of what is happening around us. Instead of being comfortable and predictable, simplicity can heighten our sensitivity to the spiritual; to the often-unnoticed dynamics of life; to the Divine Presence about us.
Perhaps this is why Jesus proclaims, Blessed (or happy) are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:3) Simple, humble, modest in character and in life. Savoring the little things, the free things, the spiritual aspects of life: The little things? The little moments? They aren’t little. (John Zabat-Zinn)
Enjoy the little things, for one day you may
look back and realize they were the big things.
– Robert Brault
Being with the Divine: Being Still—Finding Quiet
After the earthquake came a fire,
but the LORD was not in the fire.
And after the fire came a gentle whisper.
- 1 Kings 19:12
Noise. Unwanted, distracting clatter. Noise is present not only in sound, but also in communication. Noise is not only the street sounds or the kids in the basement, but also the unwanted, distracting thoughts that hinder us from focused concentration and meditation.
The Divine One is often best realized in stillness, in the quiet spaces of our soul. God is a still, small voice; a gentle whisper. Have you heard it lately? If not, perhaps it’s due to the unwanted and distracting clutter in our minds. Perhaps the cares, duties and routines of life have become the noise that drowns out the voice of God.
Oh, don’t worry. The voice and presence of God haven’t left you. The Divine is present always. But if we want to hear that voice, if we want to sense that presence, if we want to enjoy companionship with that being, we may need to work at limiting the noise in our lives by finding a quiet space, a quiet state of mind that allows us to capture the present moment and all that is there. We may need to be still, and know that I am God… (Psalms 46:10) For peace of mind, we need to resign as general manager of the universe. (Larry Eisenberg)
The gift of a quiet mind brings us peace and healing,
The gift of a quiet heart makes love sweet.
Winning or losing, quietly breathing
Watching the snow fall on cat’s feet.
- Joseph Emet
Being with the Divine: Being There—Awareness
You do not realize your own situation. You are in prison. All you can wish for, if you are… sensible…is to escape. But how to escape?
- G. I. Gurdjieff
Did you taste the water this morning?
When traveling I like to experience the unique flavors of the water at different stops. It’s always different. I used to drink water only to quench my thirst, but now I savor the subtle tastes and aromas of the various waters I drink. Drinking water, once a mindless activity, has become a spiritual experience for me.
We can easily become entrapped in the routines of life and lose our ability to appreciate the myriad delights just waiting for us to enjoy. To “walk in the spirit” is to rise above mere living mindlessly in the scheduled, predictable habits of life; to sense the Holy Presence in our midst; to be attuned to the Holy Other.
What might happen if we would remove our wristwatches for a day and function on real time—eat when we are hungry; sleep when we are tired? We might feel surprisingly comfortable being a little behind schedule, especially if we have been more aware of our surroundings and the moods and spirituality of each encounter. So much of life leaks out through our thoughtless habits. For a long time it had seemed to me that life was about to begin--real life. But there was always some obstacle in the way, something to be gotten through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, a debt to be paid. Then life would begin. At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life. (Alfred D. Souza)
When you bring “an open moment-to-moment, non-judgmental awareness to what you are attending to…that sees beyond the surface of what is going on in your field of awareness…
this is mindfulness.”
- Jon Kabat-Zinn
Being with the Divine: Being With—Community
For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body--whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free--and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.
- 1 Corinthians 12:13
God, the Holy Other, is found in community. Community speaks of relationship (between two or more people). Relationships are spiritual. And spiritual healing takes place in community.
Our Western culture and our modern conveniences want to push us toward individualism and self-reliance. But our self-sufficiency is an illusion because a healthy life is a life lived in community. We are intended to travel through life in the company of others. We are designed for interdependence. Spiritual healing in the companionship of others is real. In a group we can “bear one another’s burdens.” In connection with others we find meaning and purpose. Community fosters hope.
My spirits seems predisposed to seek a healing community. Spiritual healing is a journey toward wholeness. A spiritual community is where people, living in a similar environment, realize that they are all on a journey toward health, feel safe to be needy, and assume a mutual responsibility for the group’s healing process. May you find a warmhearted healing community.
Carry each other's burdens,
and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
- Galatians 6:2
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